Department of English

People

Russell Sbriglia

Research Interests

Russell Sbriglia studies eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American literature, focusing in particular on the political and philosophical roots of the literature of the early national and antebellum periods. His book, The Night of the World: American Romanticism and the Materiality of Transcendence, will appear as part of the “Diaeresis” series at Northwestern University Press. In it, he demonstrates how American Romantics like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Margaret Fuller, and Walt Whitman engaged German Idealist thought—in particular its theories of subjectivity, morality, aesthetics, politics, and history—in order to articulate the contours of “transcendental materialism,” a philosophy that posits the immanent genesis of the transcendental out of the material. In addition to his work on American literature, he is the editor of the book-in-progress Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Literature but Were Afraid to Ask Žižek, a collection of essays on Slovenian philosopher and psychoanalyst Slavoj Žižek and literary criticism and theory (featuring a chapter by Žižek).

Fellowships, Honors & Awards

  • William H. Gilman Memorial Prize for outstanding PhD candidate in English or American literature, Department of English, University of Rochester, May 2013
  • Commendation for Outstanding Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Humanistic Sciences, the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, University of Rochester, May 2013
  • Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship, the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, University of Rochester, spring 2012
  • Dean’s Teaching Fellowship, the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, University of Rochester, spring 2011

Courses Offered (subject to change)

  • American Realism (Spring 2015)
  • American Renaissance (Spring 2014)
  • Survey of American Literature: Beginnings to 1865 (Fall 2013)
  • Studies in American Romanticism: Hawthorne, Poe, and Melville (Summer 2012)

Selected Publications

  • The Night of the World: American Romanticism and the Materiality of Transcendence. Under contract for publication in the “Diaeresis” series at Northwestern University Press.
  • "Feeling Right, Doing Wrong: Poe, Perversity, and the Cunning of Unreason," in Poe Studies 46 (2013), 3-31
  • "Revision and Identification: Emerson and the Ethics of Skepticism and Sympathy," in Arizona Quarterly 66.2 (2010), 1-33
Work in Progress
  • Editor, Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Literature but Were Afraid to Ask Žižek. Under review.
  • Dissensus Communis: Conservatism and the Politics of Common Sense in Antebellum American Literature.